At 480 pages, Nerys Purchon and Lora Cantele’s book is packed with useful information. Whether you’re a novice to essential oils or a seasoned user, you will find plenty of useful tips and information in their book. And best of all, the material is written in a down to earth, lay-person’s language.
The book is divided into 4 sections:
- Part One (The oils) looks at the properties of essential oils, some key essential oils, an A-Z listing of essential oils (109 different oils), fixed and carrier oils, basic massage oil blends and infused oils.
- Part Two (just over 200 pages) covers different conditions and essential oil remedies for them; from abrasions to workplace stress (450 different remedies)
- Part Three covers essential oils for daily living – such as personal care (skin, hair and body), the home and massage. In this section you’ll find specific recipes for things like soap, shampoos, conditioners and even colognes.
- Part Four (Practicalities) – equipment, measuring and storing essential oils. It also includes a glossary, list of resources, bibliography and index.
What I particularly liked in the format of the book were the brief tips and cautions included on the page margins, as well as highlighted information in text boxes through out the book. E.g. Citrus oils and Phototoxicity, and Mineral Oil and Petroleum Jelly.
The book is called The Complete Aromatherapy and Essential Oils Handbook for good reason, as in fact it seems like there isn’t an aspect of aromatherapy that doesn’t get covered or explained in this book. I particularly liked how the authors discussed the uses and benefits of different carrier oils, such as almond, apricot kernel, avocado, borage seed, carrot seed, cocoa butter, coconut, evening primrose, grapeseed, jojoba wax, kukui nut, macadamia, meadowfoam, neem, olive, peanut, rosehip seed, safflower, sesame, shea butter, sunflower, tamanu, vitamin e and wheat germ oil. There is also a discussion of hydrolats (which are distilled plant waters), floral waters and infused oils (the soaking of a plant’s leaves, stem or flowers in a carrier oil for a long period of time).
My only point of difference with the authors is their caution over the internal use/ingestion of essential oils, which is something very much consistent with English-American schools of aromatherapy.  I have used a number of essential oils internally over the past 10 years without ill effect. Ultimately this is something for each reader to decide for themselves in consultation with their health care practitioner. One could say that it’s better to “err on the side of caution”. It certainly doesn’t take away from the enormous value you will find in this book. Here’s an example from their book, of a great bath oil blend you can make up to wind down after a stressful day:
Relaxing bath oil blend:
1 tsp (5 ml) grapeseed or sweet almond oil
2 drops Roman chamomile essential oil
2 drops Lavender essential oil
2 drops Ylang ylang essential oil
Fill your tub with warm water. In a small non-reactive bowl, combine grapeseed oil and chamomile, lavender and ylang ylang essential oils. Stir well and then add to tub. Agitate the water thoroughly to disperse the oils, then soak yourself in the tub for 30 minutes, massaging into your skin any floating droplets of oil.
Nerys Purchon was one of Australia’s leading experts on herbs, aromatherapy and essential oils. Her books have sold more than 300,000 copies worldwide. (Nerys Purchon passed away on January 15th 2011.)
Lora Cantele, RA, CMAIA, AAS is a registered aromatherapist, clinical aromatologist, certified Swiss reflex therapist and aromatherapy educator and writer.
Till next time
Disclaimer: Please remember that anything discussed here does not
constitute medical advice and cannot substitute for appropriate medical care. Where essential oils are mentioned, it’s recommended you use only pure, unadulterated therapeutic grade essential oils and follow the safety directions of the manufacturer.